The Path of Life Inventory

"The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals." - Melody Beattie

Each new year gives us the opportunity to create a fresh start. Even though the idea of creating "resolutions" makes many people shudder, I prefer to use a different method that's a bit more realistic.

If you want to get somewhere new, it's a good idea to start by taking a realistic look at where you are right now. The Path of Life Inventory helps me assess the key areas of my life and where things are right now, so I can figure out where to focus my energy in the coming months. It's not hard to do, only takes a few minutes, and will really help you prioritize your goals. 

Your Path of Life

Step 1: Take a look at the first image below, which lists eight major areas of life: Fun & Recreation, Career, Relationships & Romance, Home & Living Space, Spirituality & Personal Growth, Money & Finances, Friends & Family and Health. You can use a piece of lined paper and list these areas across the top of your page. On the left side of the page, rate each of these on your current level of satisfaction from zero at the bottom - being the least satisfied, to 10 at the top - being completely satisfied. Give it some thought, and put an X next to the number rating underneath each header.

Step 2: Connect the X’s with a line – as in the example below. Now, think about it - if this line were a REAL path, how bumpy would your journey of life be?

Fine Tune Your Focus

Step 3: Decide which of the eight major areas to work on this year. Please don’t overwhelm yourself by choosing all of them – that’s a pitfall that can pull the rug out from your best intentions. It’s not important to have every area of our lives at a 10 – that’s simply not realistic. But, we can shift our satisfaction levels from a 3 to a 4, for example - or even from a 6 to an 8. 

I recommend picking only one or two major areas to focus on for the year. Consider that you'll likely be able to achieve more with strategic, single-minded focus in fewer areas, than spreading your energy too thin or getting sidetracked by many goals. Plus, you can always add another one later in the year, if you like.

The goal is to bring your satisfaction level up ONE number this year. If that doesn’t sound like much, think about how many years your satisfaction level has been at the same number – or maybe even lower in years past. if you can move your satisfaction level up one number this year – that’s an achievement to be proud of. If you bring it up more than that – congratulations!

Step 4: Brainstorm on all the possible ways to achieve your goal. Give this some thought and don’t stress out about it – just explore some options and ideas, and write it all down. Brainstorming is an important process that helps us think creatively in finding the best ways to move forward. Most importantly - have fun with it!

Until next time – stay inspired!